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Trigger happy

Kabelo Dipholo
LEGEND: Molelekwa in his Rollers strip

Molelekwa’s football legend immortalised

In the early 80’s to the late 90’s the name Trigger Molelekwa used to reverberate through radio speakers across the country.

The no-nonsense former Township Rollers and Botswana XI (Zebras) defender was known for his bone-crunching tackles and towering headers.

His dominant displays on the field earned him a number of nicknames, amongst others ‘Action’ and ‘Engine Exchange’.

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The 64-year-old Pilikwe native is one of the most decorated players in the country, winning all that Botswana had to offer.

His trophy cabinet includes six league titles, six Gilbeys Cups, three Coca Cola Cup gold medals and one Mainstay Cup title – all won with Popa.

27 years after hanging up his boots, Molelekwa’s legendary status will be immortalized this weekend, with the re-launch of the annual Trigger Molelekwa Cup in Pilikwe.

In a tournament run by Pilikwe Events (PE), a group of six individuals from the village who have come together to organise and stage an annual soccer festival during the festive season, the company decided to make Molelekwa the face of the tournament in recognition of his contribution to the beautiful game.

The tournament was officially launched last year, and rebranded this year.

Pilikwe Events’ Public Relations Officer (PRO), Gaorekwe Gaorekwe said the organisers decided it would be befitting to name the tournament after one of their soccer legends in the village.

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According to Gaorekwe, the five-day tournament will see five teams from the village – Dimoko, More Fire, Free Burghers, Pilikwe Rolling Stars and Eastern Rangers – battle it out for the top prize of P7, 000.

During his hay days, Molelekwa also turned out for Free Burghers.

“We came up with the initiative after realising there was a lack of festive activities in the village. The team saw this as an anomaly that needed to be corrected, taking it upon ourselves to coordinate and plan this tournament. All money raised from these events are for the upliftment of the community,” he told Voice Sport.

The games are scheduled to start on the 24th December and will run until the 28th at the Oris Radipotsane Sports Complex.

The sports complex was named after another of the village’s heavyweights, Radipotsane, who like Molelekwa played for the Zebras, Township Rollers and Free Burghers.

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‘Jigga Man’, as he’s called, is currently a coach, and has headed the dugout at Rollers, Motlakase Power Dynamos and Jwaneng Galaxy.

In an interview with Voice Sport, Molelekwa said he was greatly humbled by the gesture from PE.

“These young men have made me feel special. They’ve exalted me in a way I could never have imagined,” said Molelekwa.

The living legend said he played the sport at a time when there were no financial rewards; passion was the driving factor.

“A gesture like this is enough to wipe anybody’s tears. It’s enough for me to forget all the injustices in football,” Molelekwa told Voice Sport.

Molelekwa was signed by Rollers from a Francistown outfit, Carnivals in 1982. Four years later, he received his first national call-up and was the mainstay of both Rollers and the Zebras as the trusted number five, or central defender as it is called today.

After 13 trophy-laden years, he left Rollers in 1995, to join Mokgosi Young Fighters. Old age finally caught up with the fearsome, whole-hearted defender who called time on his playing days midway through the 1996/97 season. Unlike Radipotsane, he never went into coaching, preferring to spend his retirement on the farm.

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The first match kicks-off at 1430hrs on Sunday. Admission is P20 for adults, P10 for kids and P10 for cars.

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